Chapter

Anthropometric Measures and Body Composition

Walter Willett and Frank Hu

in Nutritional Epidemiology

Third edition

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780199754038
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199979448 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199754038.003.0009

Series: Monographs in Epidemiology and Biostatistics

Anthropometric Measures and Body Composition

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Anthropometric variables, particularly weight and height, are the most commonly employed measures of nutritional status in epidemiologic studies due to their simplicity and ease of collection. In adults, measures of body dimensions and mass are used to represent nutritional status directly; to compute the absolute size of the major body compartments, such as lean body mass and adipose mass; to estimate relative body composition, such as fatness; and to describe body fat distribution. This chapter begins with an overview of weight and height, including their relationships to nutritional status, their use in epidemiologic studies, and the reproducibility and validity of these measurements. Next, it discusses the concept of major body compartments and considers methods of measuring them. The major part of the chapter addresses the assessment of relative body composition, specifically fatness, using densitometry, combinations of weight and height, skinfold thickness, and the newer methods of bioelectric resistance and dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry. Finally, an evaluation of body fat distribution is reviewed and the use of such measurements in epidemiologic analyses is examined.

Keywords: anthropometric variables; weight; height; nutritional status; epidemiologic studies; body mass; body composition; body fat ditribution

Chapter.  18541 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Medical Statistics and Methodology

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